KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Sebelius Signals Openness To State Alternatives To Medicaid Expansion

Speaking to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said she is willing to work with states experimenting with new ways to insure poor Americans. Meanwhile, outlets in Virginia and Michigan report on the debate in those states about expanding the program.

Georgia Health News: HHS Chief, Visiting Georgia, Urges Expansion
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told state legislators from around the nation Monday that her agency is open and willing to discuss different proposals by states to expand their Medicaid programs. "We are very eager to continue these conversations with states around the country,"’ Sebelius said in Atlanta during a meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures (8/12).

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Sebelius Pitches Obamacare In Atlanta
The Obama administration’s top healthcare official said Monday she is eager to work with states experimenting with new ways to improve access to health care for millions of low-income Americans (Williams, 8/12).

Also in the news related to the health law's Medicaid expansion -

Detroit News: GOP Lawmakers Criticize Medicaid Expansion Plan, Push Alternatives
Two Republican state lawmakers were joined by other Medicaid expansion critics Monday in attacking the federal Affordable Care Act and urging rejection of a proposed expansion of the government health care coverage program for the poor in favor of their free-market alternative. Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, and Rep. Nancy Jenkins, R-Clayton, said they want to shift all 1.8 million Medicaid recipients in the state and the more than 400,000 uninsured Michiganians into health saving plans and focus state resources on direct primary care (Heinlein, 8/12).

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Candidates Using Funny Math On Medicaid
Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe have diametrically opposed positions on whether Virginia should expand its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act. ... Cuccinelli, the state’s attorney general, is an ardent opponent of expansion and says there are no savings that can be counted. McAuliffe, a businessman who strongly favors extending coverage, includes speculative tax revenue from future economic activity as a form of savings. Neither approach accurately reflects the estimated costs and benefits being weighed by a new legislative commission tasked with overseeing reforms of the state’s Medicaid program and deciding whether to allow it to expand (Martz, 8/11).

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